Kilmarnock winger Daniel Armstrong is “loving” the added expectation levels he has attracted following his impressive start to the season.
Armstrong is Killie’s top goalscorer with eight goals and has also provided two assists in the Premiership in a total haul of 24 chances created.
The 25-year-old showed he could handle the pressure that such a record brings when he converted a match-winning penalty against Hibernian before the mid-season break to take Killie off the foot of the table.
On his new-found responsibility, Armstrong said: “I am loving it. That’s why you play football. I would rather be that person than a person that nobody relies on.
“It brings me confidence as well when you hear people talking about your form and how many goals and assists you have got.
“There is a long way to go and hopefully I can keep chipping away and getting goals and assists and helping the team push up the league.”
Armstrong, whose team face Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday, added: “I am just hoping to continue that form in the next part of the season.
“Personally, I had a good start to the season but it doesn’t mean anything yet, there is still loads of games to go. Hopefully I can kick on again.”
Armstrong came through the youth ranks of Hamilton and then Wolves before getting his first tastes of first-team football in Scotland’s lower leagues with Dunfermline, Raith Rovers, Ross County and then Killie, before making his Premiership debut this season.
“I have always felt capable of playing at this level, I have just had to wait patiently for a chance,” he said.
“I played a lot of the pre-season games and the cup games and then didn’t get a start for a wee while in the league. But I managed to score on my first start and not really looked back since then.
“Confidence is massive, especially in the positions I play. Momentum is a great thing.”
Armstrong was rewarded for his form with a two-year contract extension before the Hibs game.
“I didn’t play as much as I would have liked last season and to then be the first one to get a new contract off the gaffer was a massive boost in confidence,” he said.
“I worked hard for it and it’s all about continuing to work hard and repaying the faith.”